#TweedTone: How Does The Wampler Tweed ’57 Pedal Compare To A Real Tweed Deluxe Amp?

I’m lucky enough to own a physical Tweed Deluxe amp. I also think that a Tweed Deluxe amp rig for home use has become so expensive in 2023, it’s difficult to justify. So I’ve started looking at alternatives, to see how they compare to the real thing.

Today, I’m looking at Wampler’s classic Tweed ’57 overdrive pedal.

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When used as a preamp, I got a great 5e3 Tweed Deluxe rhythm tone out of the Wampler Tweed ’57 pedal. And I think it sounds even better when boosted by a Klon klone pedal such as the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe.

I prefer the sound of the Wampler Tweed ’57 over my real Tweed Deluxe amp. I also prefer the convenience, especially when using it with my Les Paul.

What Is The Wampler Tweed 57′ Overdrive Pedal?

The Tweed ’57 is an overdrive pedal. It was made by Wampler Pedals some years ago. It was reissued in 2023 as a limited run.

Despite the name, as far as I know Wampler has never marketed this explicitly as a Tweed-Deluxe-in-a-pedal. And yet (spoiler alert) as you’ll hear shortly, this pedal can do the 5e3 thing if you know how to set it up right.

According to Brian Wampler himself, it’s a pedal that’s caused some confusion, or perhaps been greatly misunderstood over the years:

Brian Wampler doing a Tweed 57 and Black 65 walkthrough

I’m one of those people who have been confused by this pedal in the past for sure!

I’ve had mine goodness knows how many years now, and until I watched Brian’s video, I’d never been happy with the sound of the Wampler Tweed ’57. The solution? Run it as a preamp pedal rather than run it into the front of a guitar amp.

I think the results are fantastic.

What Do I Need To Use It?

To use the Wampler Tweed ’57 as a preamp, you will need:

  • the Wampler Tweed ’57 pedal itself
  • a power supply (any regular pedal power supply will do)
  • a cab emulator of some kind (such as an IR plugin in your DAW)

That’ll work just fine for home use and recording.

I recommend boosting this pedal with a Klon klone of some kind.

  • Wampler’s Tumnus Deluxe is an obvious one for me to recommend – and I’ve got an audio demo of that later in this blog post.
  • It also sounds killer with Warm Audio’s Centavo pedal.

That’ll allow you to shape the tone a little more, and add some thickness to the overdrive too.

My Rig Today

My signal chain is:

  • Squier 50s Esquire with Seymour Duncan Antiquity bridge pickup (aka The Squirrel)
  • into my pedalboard
  • into my Axe-FX 3 (for cab and some post-EQ)
  • into my Apollo x6 interface
  • into the EP-34 tape delay plugin
  • into the Precision Reflection Engine plugin (setup for spring reverb)

and into my DAW.

(This is basically the same setup that I’ve been using for the recent #TweedTone comparison posts.)

I’ve got both the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe and the Wampler Tweed ’57 on my pedalboard. They’re in separate loops of my Gigrig G2 so that I can completely take the Tumnus Deluxe out of the signal chain when I’m not using it.

To help reduce the variables on this comparison, I’m using the exact same IR settings in the Axe-FX 3 for both the real amp and the pedal.

How Does It Sound?

On Its Own

When I’m using my Tweed Deluxe amp, I just set it up for the classic rhythm drive sound and leave it there:

  • plugged into Instrument 1 input
  • Instrument Volume at 4
  • Mic Volume at 8

I’ve setup the Wampler Tweed ’57 to give me a rhythm drive sound that I like, that’s roughly in the same ballpark as my real amp.

Here’s the Wampler Tweed ’57:

Telecaster > Wampler Tweed ’57 > Axe-FX 3 > DAW

and, for reference, here’s my real Tweed Deluxe amp:

Telecaster > Tweed Deluxe > Axe-FX 3 > DAW

Listening back to the recording, I’m hearing more upper mids and less saturation from the Wampler Tweed ’57.

Using A Klon Klone To Get A Tone That I Love

I’ve had the Tweed ’57 on my pedalboard for a week or two before writing this blog post. For most of that time, I’ve been boosting it with a Klon klone – the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe – rather than getting all the drive from the Tweed ’57 alone.

Here’s what that sounds like:

Telecaster > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Wampler Tweed ’57 > Axe-FX 3 > DAW

Still not as thick and saturated as my real amp, for sure. But, I tell you what: I’ve been delighted with that sound since I dialled it in. I would happily record with that.

I also found that pairing the Tumnus Deluxe and the Tweed ’57 made it very easy to switch guitars. If I want to use my Les Paul instead, I just tweak the controls on the Tumnus Deluxe a bit to compensate for the extra low end and extra mids, and I’m sorted.

I think it’s a really good pairing.

Trying To Get Closer To My Real Amp

Regular readers may recall that I do have doubts about how representative my Fender 57 Custom Deluxe is. While it’s sold as an accurate reproduction of the Tweed Deluxe, both in tone and in the amount of gain it has, it seems to be a bit of an outlier when I compare it to just about anything else.

Nevertheless, it’s the amp that I have to work with.

Now that you’ve heard the sound that I really like from the Tweed ’57, there’s one question I want to try and answer. Can I tweak the Tweed ’57’s controls to make it sound more like my actual amp?

Here’s the closest that I got:

Telecaster > Wampler Tweed ’57 > Axe-FX 3 > DAW

For good measure, here’s another attempt, combining both the Tumnus Deluxe and Tweed ’57:

Telecaster > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Wampler Tweed ’57 > Axe-FX 3 > DAW

Once again, here’s my real Tweed Deluxe amp to compare both efforts against:

Telecaster > Tweed Deluxe > Axe-FX 3 > DAW

While they all sound different, I do think they’re close enough.

I’m hearing a difference in the mid-range emphasis when the Tweed ’57 is on its own. The Tweed ’57 has more energy in the upper-mids than my real amp does. Sounds good though!

When I add in the Tumnus Deluxe, it tightens up the low-end a bit and smooths out the overdrive characteristic. At least, that’s what I’m hearing. Maybe it shifts the mids a bit too? Certainly not enough to say it sounds just like my real amp.

Which Do You Prefer?

For this particular tone, I prefer the sound of the Wampler Tweed ’57. I also prefer the convenience that the pedal offers.

I like the difference in the mids between the Tweed ’57 and my real Tweed Deluxe amp. I think my real amp does sound a little too dark / too thick at times. For lack of a better description, there’s a lightness to the tone from the Tweed ’57 that I really dig.

When it comes to convenience, I love how easy it is to use the Tumnus Deluxe and Tweed ’57 with my Les Paul.

I’m using my Squier Esquire for this series of blog posts because I struggle to get a great sound out of my real Tweed Deluxe amp when I use my Les Paul. With the Wampler pedals, there’s no struggle at all. Tweak the EQ on the Tumnus Deluxe a bit, and I’m a very happy chicken indeed.

How Does The Price Compare?

You should budget up to £400 to get the Wampler Tweed ’57 and a suitable Klon klone like the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe or (my favourite with this pedal) the Warm Audio Centavo.

The main issue is that the Tweed ’57 is a discontinued pedal. (There’s a limited reissue run at the time of writing. That will probably be sold out when you’re reading this.) The only way to get one is to find one on the second-hand market. From my observations, it’s quite a rare pedal, and prices seem to fluctuate quite a bit. You might get lucky and get the whole setup for as low as £300.

Compare that to the approx £3,500 price of a real Tweed Deluxe amp + attenuator for home use. I think we can safely describe the real amp setup as costing around 10 times as much as the pedal setup.

That’s a difficult price difference to justify if all you care about is the tone that you can dial in.

In my case, I bought the real amp because I wanted the experience of learning and working with an actual Tweed Deluxe amp. That is something that the Tweed ’57 can’t offer. The pedal doesn’t attempt to replicate the controls of a 5e3 circuit, and I don’t think it replicates the amp sag and how the lack of negative feedback adds rasp to the tone.

There again, those are two 5e3 characteristics that most modern 5e3-based amps try to tame via circuit mods, so … 🤷‍♂️ And I don’t miss them from the pedal either.

Final Thoughts

I picked up the Wampler Tweed ’57 because my friend Matt told me that (in his opinion) it’s the pedal that delivers the most accurate 5e3 tones. I now understand why he said that.

It’s certainly delivered for my preferred rhythm tone.

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